To our wonderful and dear supporters,
I hope this note finds you in good health and spirit despite this very difficult time.
As I spent the past months adapting to a new normal, I have had time to reflect on a topic that has been close to my heart since my childhood – the forest. In my 13 years with MYCAT, I have had the privilege of spending time in the forest doing conservation work with colleagues, like-minded friends, and volunteers. Regardless of whom I am in the forest with, I always feel one with nature and I sense an incredible connection with living beings other than humans.
Many of my fondest memories are of time spent in the forest with friends like you on CAT Walks – searching for rare wildlife in Bird Valley, crossing the Sungai Yu (Yu River) rapids, checking trail cameras for wildlife images, and digging holes in hard ground under the eco-viaduct to plant trees. Of course not all was rosy. The bitter realities of this work don’t escape me – destroying artificial bamboo salt baits and locating wire snares that have been triggered are not things one forgets easily. I was devastated when I was told remains were found of a clouded leopard caught in a snare. Although I wish for these memories to be erased, they serve as a powerful reminder of how critical our work is.
While a degraded forest might survive and recover on its own, endangered wildlife does not stand a chance against humans who are intent on harming it. The sad reality is fragile wildlife needs and relies on dedicated conservationists to stop poaching and protect the ecosystem it calls home. The ultimate goal of CAT Walks is exactly this: to protect the Malayan tiger from a fate of extinction and to ensure its habitat is restored. I wish you and I could be CAT Walking and saving tigers together right now. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is we do not know when we will be allowed back into the forest. For the time being, we have to rely solely on my Bateq friends, who are important allies of MYCAT, to continue monitoring the forest for illegal activities on our behalf.
On top of the pandemic, many of you must be aware of the recent political unrests in Malaysia. These compounded calamities mean none of the financial support promised by the government in 2019 has materialised. We are doing everything possible to sustain daily operations to ensure the wildlife recovery achieved in the past five years is not compromised, but we desperately need your support to get through this difficult and uncertain time.
One new method we are exploring to secure funding for our critical conservation work is to use online crowdfunding platforms. We are very excited that we have been selected by the GlobalGiving Foundation to participate in its platform. If you can, please consider making a gift at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-the-malayan-tiger-and-restore-its-habitat/. Your donation will allow us to continue empowering the Bateq to protect the forests and wildlife, and restore the forests at the Sungai Yu Wildlife Corridor.
If you are unable to donate at this time, you can advocate for us by sharing our message with a family member or friend. Even a quick mention on your social media would mean the world to us. In times like these, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are. Your support is greatly appreciated.
MYCAT and You, Saving Tigers Together.
Suzalinur Manja (aka Man)
Citizen Action for Tigers
* Funds raised on GlobalGiving.com will go to the Wildlife Society of Selangor (WILD), a registered charity in Malaysia that administers and executes programs under MYCAT. All donations made via GlobalGiving.com are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers, while UK taxpayers contributing in GBP are eligible for Gift Aid. More details can be found here.